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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump Trashes Mueller Probe after FISA Revelation; Trump Threatens Iran in All-Caps Tweet; Shooting Sparks Debate Over "Stand Your Ground". Aired 9-10p ET
Aired July 23, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks very much for watching again. I'll see you tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on 360.
News continues, I want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "COUMO PRIME TIME: What an unbelievable story of loss. You have that there but for the grace of God, you know, she would not have been here either.
CUOMO: But there's still so many answers that we need about those boats, those conditions, and what happened on that night. Anderson, thanks for bringing us that.
CUOMO: All right, friends, I'M Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time."
Color us unimpressed. That is Iran's response to President Trump's all caps threat. Some Democrats already hear the war drums beating, but haven't we seen this fire and fury show before?
Now, we have a take on a play that Trump may be making here that you're not hearing about.
Coming up, straight ahead we have a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Joaquin Castro. He has insight and invective on the topics of Iran and that big FISA warrant story with new information. Trump sees the FISA disclosures of information that was used to surveil one of his staffers as proof that the probe is a hoax. Is that true? Fact check coming.
And another black man shot dead in Florida, this time over a parking space. And there will be no charges at this point. Stand your ground was recently updated to make it even easier to kill without consequence. We're going to debate the standard and the social instruction at play in Florida.
Monday is starting off hot. So what do you say? Let's get after it. Another week, another tweet storm. This time over the weekend, the President doubled down on his claims that the release of the Carter Page FISA documents completely discredit the Mueller probe. He writes, in part.
So we now find out that it was indeed the unverified and fake dirty dossier that was paid for by crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC that was knowingly and falsely submitted to FISA and which was responsible for starting the totally conflicted and discredited Mueller witch hunt. Is that true? Let's discuss. We have Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro.
A lot of news to unpack with you Congressman. Thank you for being with us tonight.
JOAQUIN CASTRO, HOUSE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Yeah, thank you for having me.
CUOMO: Now, let's flip it a little bit. This response from Iran deserves immediate attention. We were expecting some kind of response. What do you make of what came from the foreign minister?
CASTRO: Well, obviously Iran was going to respond after that tweet last night where the President basically wrote in all caps a threat to Iran. And, you know, I'm tempted to say that brief kind of seen the President go down this road before with North Korea, where there was a lot of fire and fury. Then he went to Singapore, and now by most accounts, the North Korean nuclear program is more developed at this point today than it was before he sat down with Kim Jong-un.
CUOMO: You don't put any stock in those new videos that came out that showed them apparently blowing up part of at least one of their launch pads?
CASTRO: Well, you know -- well, the first thing is it's important to realize that they've been making these statements for years about the United States, about Israel and other nations. Obviously abhorrent statements. But that's the reason that the United States a few years ago, with so many other countries, entered into the JCPOA or what we know as the Iran deal, to keep them from getting nuclear weapons. It was President Trump that pulled the United States out of that Iran deal.
So, yes, of course I'm concerned when I see those things, but that's part of the reason we should not have gotten out of the agreement. We should have stayed in.
COOPER: No, I hear you about that. I'm saying North Korea put out some video of apparently blowing up one of their launch pads or at least part of it. Do you believe that is proof the way the Trump administration says that they are moving in the right direction in North Korea?
CASTRO: Sure. I thought you were talking about Iran.
CUOMO: I got you. CASTRO: Yes. With North Korea, yes, I mean, Listen, they basically bucked the United States since the Singapore summit. They have refused to send back the remains of the soldiers who fought and died in the Korean War as President Trump said that they would. They are asking for more from the United States, at times even just to sit down and meet with our diplomats, including Secretary Pompeo. And then of course there's information as part of the intelligence committee that I'm privy to, and my conclusion based on what h I've heard is that they're in a stronger position now than they were when the Singapore summit happened.
CUOMO: Now, on Iran, some Democrats are saying, oh, this is it. He's taking us into war. Why? Why that level of concern when, as you say, we have seen this before, and he's talking tough. There's talking tough back. As you said, it may end in another summit with a new friend.
[21:05:05] CASTRO: Well, look, I think for Americans, this is the first President who is basically using social media and specifically Twitter to communicate, sometimes very brashly, what he's thinking, especially towards nations that are hostile to us or adversaries to us.
And so when the President sends out a tweet close to midnight where he's basically screaming at the President of Iran, basically implying that he's going to blow Iran off the face of the earth, of course Americans are going to be concerned about that and also worry about the President's mental health to be quite honest.
But even if you give him the benefit of the doubt, then the best thing you could say about that is that perhaps he's just doing what he did to North Korea, which is he's issuing these strong rhetorical statements and threats. But at the end of the day, because of what we just talked about, in other words, that North Korea is more developed nuclearly than they were before.
CASTRO: You've got to wonder whether all that fire and fury is something that Iran has seen President Trump go through with North Korea and hardly feels threatened at all.
CUOMO: Right. Look, those are deliberate -- you know, the different effects and impacts and considerations of style. The North Koreans saw him walk away from the Iran deal. The Iranians watched him talk tough to Kim and then shake his hand and say he's a good man. So we'll see how it plays out stylistically.
CASTRO: I do think -- all though, I will say that I do think that the situation is a bit more serious and dangerous for this reason. With North Korea, we essentially didn't -- we had reason to believe that they had some nuclear capability already. In other words, there was a nuclear danger to the United States.
CUOMO: Right. CASTRO: If we took a strike, a first strike at North Korea. With Iran, because of the Iran agreement, because these things have been verified, we know that Iran does not have that same nuclear capability that North Korea did.
CASTRO: So it's a different kind of country that this President would be going after, and I think many people believe that for him, he may be thinking, in other words, that Iran is an easier adversary, and so war could be something that he considers more possible.
CUOMO: Yes, except they have boots on the ground unlike most of the hot spots in that part of the world that the United States is concerned about. We're going to take that on in a later segment about why he might be instigating things in Iran.
But while I have you, the President -- that style, on the substance level, he spent a lot of time on FISA, and he basically makes three determinations from what came out, as heavily redacted as it is. But of course none of it needs to be redacted for the President. You can get pure information whenever he wants it. But he says, one, it was all about the dossier, the FISA application. Two, it turns out that it was done in shady fashion, and it wasn't disclosed to the judges where it was coming from. Three, it's clear that Carter Page wasn't anything of any concern to anybody, and that's why the whole thing is a hoax. Do you agree with any of those points?
CASTRO: Well, I disagree with all three, and I think now that the application, even though it's heavily redacted, has been put out, I think Americans can see for themselves and can debunk for themselves the claims that President Trump has made, that Devin Nunes has made, who is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. This was a thorough and fair process undertaken by the intelligence community who saw a real threat to the United States from the Russians.
CUOMO: Based on more than the dossier?
CASTRO: That's right. Absolutely. And you know, the application speaks for itself, based on much more than just the dossier. And so the President is going to use every angle, every piece of leverage that he can to try to undercut the Mueller investigation and this whole process. And unfortunately he's attacking a process, this FISA process, that helps keep the United States safe from foreign powers.
CUOMO: Give me a yes/no on this, Congressman, if you can. Do you think the President believes that the Russians attacked us during the election?
CASTRO: Well, he won't say that he does. So, you know, it's hard to say. He goes back and forth on it. So I can't tell you -- I can't read his mind and tell you what he actually believes. I think any reasonable person would believe that, yes, they did. But for whatever reason, the President won't stick to one answer and say yes.
CUOMO: Joaquin Castro. Congressman, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate it.
CASTRO: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So what am I getting at when I'm saying is there another play going on with Iran's salvo? Well, maybe it's not just hyperbolic hot talk. Maybe he's picking a fight for a reason. I'm going to give you two factors that are not getting enough attention on this tweet story, next.
[21:13:16] CUOMO: All right. We've got all kinds of information here for diagnosis. Another fire and fury, rocket man redux, this time with Iran, right? Maybe not. Here's what the President said this time, OK? Never, ever threaten the United States again, or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious. Sound familiar? It does because you'll remember this with North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Almost the exact same thing. Now right, context is different. This time it was a response to the Iranian President, it seems, Rouhani, saying that hostility could lead to the mother of all wars. That's what he said.
Well, Iran just answered. Here's what they said. Color us unimpressed. Then they have this yap about how they've been around too long about huff and puff and return the suggestion to be cautious.
So will we wind up with another chummy summit with another inimical state? Maybe. But there are two factors here that I don't think are getting enough attention. The first one is that this is low fruit, what we're seeing the President do here. Why? Because it's a distraction from all things Russia. Even if that means baiting a place that has fighters in just about every hot spot that we care about.
And once again the media is responding, but let's keep our eye on the ball here because this time there could be another play going that has a touch of irony to it. Trump did the easy work on Iran, right? He stepped away from the deal. So far he has nothing to replace it, and it seems Iran is not worried about more sanctions, at least not yet.
[21:15:02] But what if things get sideways, at least rhetorically, with Iran? Who can the U.S. turn to? Let's take a look at that. Here's a map. The first would be to go to the U.N., right? So you go to the U.N., say we need help here. No clout. Iran's not going to listen to them. They weren't a significant party to the deal that was done with some five nation states. So how about your traditional allies in the European region, going to France, going to the U.K. They don't have those kinds of relationships with Iran. India, complicated.
How about friends in the region? You know, you go to Israel, Saudi Arabia. They're completely at odds. Saudis especially. Israel, this is not their situation to help with. In fact, they have their own strategic conditions about where Iran is right now on the border. Certain things work for them that wouldn't work for us.
So where does that leave the United States? Russia. Russia might be the answer to keep an eye on this situation because Trump wins both ways with what he did with this tweet. He wins because he gets a distraction. People are talking about it. I'm talking about it, but I'm not talking about it the way most people are.
And if it does get sideways because of his provocation, he can turn to Russia and say, I need Russia to cool it down. They can help us. Iran respects them and trusts them. And in that he would not only justify his suppleness with Putin in the interest of working together, but he would have created his own proof that he did the right thing with Putin in the first place. I know this may sound a little farfetched, but I don't think it is. I think it's what makes the most sense of picking this potential object, Iran, at this particular time. So that's what I got for you on that.
Now, what do I know? So we're going to get a four-star general's perspective on all of this of what's going on with this Iran intrigue. But first there are two big topics for a debate for you. We now know who was lying about the infamous FISA application to surveil a Trump friend and the new move by Trump to take security clearance from former Intel chiefs that he doesn't like. Is that OK? The debaters, next.
[21:21:06] CUOMO: Being irate at Iran. Is that the right move for the USA? And the truth in the FISA application, which side owns it? Nina Turner and Rick Santorum are here for what should be a great debate. Let's start with Iran. Rick, you like the move by the President, do you?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do. Anything that shows that we stand with the people of Iran who hate their leadership, who are being oppressed by the leadership, if you look at Mike Pompeo's speech yesterday at the Reagan Library, it was brilliant. He laid out the tremendous scourge that this regime is to their people and how -- I mean Rouhani -- excuse me, not Rouhani, Khomeini, the Ayatollah, he has a $95 billion hedge fund. I mean you have Larijani, the head of judicial has a $300 million estate.
I mean these folks are getting rich. They're oppressing their people. They're persecuting and killing their people. They're oppressing women. You want to talk about women really being oppressed, it's not Saudi Arabia. It's Iran. And the people hate the regime. So when the United States stands up and calls out the regime for what they are, that's a good thing for us.
CUOMO: You think that's what Trump was doing, Nina?
NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not at all. I mean I think it's yet another distraction, and the President certainly can take a page out of President Teddy Roosevelt's book, which is to speak softly and carry a big stick. There was no need to try to pick a fight here. We are a hedge them on nation, so we don't have to get up in arms like that on every single situation. But the President doesn't know how to speak softly and carry the big stick.
He has to continue to protest and to me, as far as I'm concerned, is nothing more than a distraction to try to amp up Iran. And even just to have, Chris, just a cavalier attitude about war itself really does not make a whole lot of sense, and the threats that he has given -- war is serious, whether it's Iran or Russia or any other country, it is really, really a serious matter.
So we should not play games with it. The President of the United States should not play games with it. And let us not forget that we are the only nation that in war, that dropped a nuclear bomb on other nations, you know, You know, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. So it doesn't make a whole lot of sense here for the President to play games with this.
CUOMO: Well, in terms of what is happening right now, we have heard some of the language before with North Korea before, fair point. However, in both cases, the President never really went after the kinds of oppression you're talking about, Rick. I have the transcript of the secretary of state's speech. You're correct about what Pompeo did. But that's not Trump was talking about. He just seemed to be chest bumping with Rouhani, didn't he?
SANTORUM: Well, he was responding. I mean it's a Twitter response. I mean, he was responding to Rouhani, and I think he did so very forcefully.
SANTORUM: And he did so right on the heels of a speech by a secretary of state which I think laid out very clearly the policies of this administration.
CUOMO: Why now?
SANTORUM: Well, because I think -- well, hopefully he wanted to bring attention to a story that wasn't getting much attention.
CUOMO: Why didn't he mention the people and the oppression and the women and we're not going to stand for it, how come he didn't say anything?
SANTORUM: Well, I think Donald Trump is a man that likes to -- well, you know, create controversy. And I think what he knew he would do, if he tweeted that, is that people would all of a sudden start talking about Iran, and you couldn't help talk about Iran and not talk about what the secretary of state said yesterday.
CUOMO: You can't talk about Iran and not talk about Russia, and that's what I think is going on here. I think the President sees an opportunity here. There's no question that you're right about Iran being an oppressive regime, one of many around the world. But he's picking this one, and he's picking it right now at a time that certainly he wants to distract from all this Russia drama, which won't happen, not on this show. We're going to discuss it in just a second. But the only person he can probably turn to for help with Iran right now is Russia. What a coincidence.
SANTORUM: Well, I would just say that I don't think Russia has really been in the business of helping us with any --
CUOMO: No, but that's what they came to the table with in Syria.
[21:25:01] SANTORUM: Well, yes.
CUOMO: That's supposedly what Russia has been offering. Let us help you.
SANTORUM: Yes, let's be honest.
CUOMO: We can help you with Iran. We can help you with where they are. Why did he meet with Benjamin Netanyahu? We can help you with where Iran is. We know where they are on the border there. This is one of the things they're offering. Interesting timing, no?
SANTORUM: Well, all I can say is they were going to help us with Syria and Assad, and they didn't.
SANTORUM: We signed a chemical deal that --
CUOMO: And they were going to help us with North Korea, and the first chance they had, they rooked us at the U.N.
SANTORUM: Yes. So --
CUOMO: Which Nina -- let's bounce it back to you. Which raises the specter of what the President thinks is true and what winds up happening in reality don't always meet on international affairs.
TURNER: Most often it doesn't meet on international affairs, and the President knows exactly what he is doing. He is really the master of distraction. Whenever he gets tangled up any kind of way, this is what he does. He deflects, he deflects, he deflects, and he's going to continue to do that again. Foreign affairs -- I mean, domestic issues vitally important, foreign affairs vitally important.
And the President goes it alone a lot, Chris. He doesn't seek the advice of his foreign policy experts before he goes out like a 5-year- old and pulls everybody into his web. See, the difference between him running his companies is that being the President of the United States of America, there's so much at stake both here at home and also with foreign policy, our geopolitical partners in the world. He's pulling everybody into this, and he needs to take his statements and his tweets a little more seriously and to understand that there are serious consequences attached to the actions and the moves that he makes and also his tweets.
CUOMO: True. He is the President.
SANTORUM: One comment.
CUOMO: Rick, go ahead.
SANTORUM: One comment, there is -- that may be true on occasion. I wouldn't disagree that he is sometimes out of sync with his policy team. He is not out of sync with this policy team on this one. John Bolton is as tough on Iran as Mike Pompeo did --
TURNER: But John Bolton, I mean --
SANTORUM: They are all in sync with the President.
TURNER: Come on, Senator. John Bolton is a warhawk.
SANTORUM: Iran is a major threat and somebody that if we stand up with the people of Iran, which is what Secretary Pompeo was very clear about, that maybe changes can occur.
CUOMO: All right. So, look, he has to, as President, give deference to his own style on his own choices and we'll see how they play out, and he will be judged by many different sectors of society.
TURNER: But Chris, he can stand with the people of Iran but not stand with the people of the United States of America, not even his own intelligence community that talked about Russia and what they did in the 2016 election.
CUOMO: Well, I get your criticism. And that takes us to our next topic that I want to deal with quickly here. Rick, he can feel whatever he wants, but what was released does not give him the factual ability to say, it was all about the dossier. You know that, Rick. You know that what was released with the FISA application, we now know dispositively it wasn't just the dossier. And that dossier was explained for what it was. So for him to say otherwise is just not true.
SANTORUM: Well, I think the point is that what you say, it wasn't just the dossier. So even those who look at it, look at the FISA application and say, well, it certainly was about the dossier, but you're right. It wasn't just about the dossier.
CUOMO: But he suggests it was all about the dossier, and that's demonstrably false. Why do that?
SANTORUM: Well, because I think that there's no question that that was a major -- that was a major piece of his application.
CUOMO: But it wasn't the only thing, and they had a whole other factual basis. There are dozens and dozens of pages that are redacted, there are other informations that we can't see. That weren't about the dossier. That's just the truth.
SANTORUM: Yes, the reason he's talking about it is because the dossier is false. There's nothing in that dossier that's been documented.
CUOMO: That's not true. There are things in it that were not substantiated, and there are things in it that were. Again, why be wholesale in everything? Why can't anybody be damn subtle about anything? Why can't it be you're only kind of right about part of it? The whole thing isn't a hoax. They attacked the campaign. They meant to do it. They're still doing it now. They want to do it next time. You've done nothing to stop it. And there is no proof at this point that anybody in the Trump campaign had anything to do with it. Why can't he just say that?
SANTORUM: Well, I mean you're asking Donald Trump to be nuanced? Is that what you're asking?
CUOMO: That's pretty obvious. If I can do it, he can do it, Rick. It's not subtle. You know what I'm saying?
SANTORUM: Yes. I think he has a point to make and he's making his point. I would agree with you it's not completely accurate, but he's going to continue to make his point.
TURNER: I'm glad the senator is agreeing. I mean, not just nuanced. If he could just tell the truth from time to time that would be a great start.
CUOMO: Well, especially on that because it matters. It's dividing this country and that's why we discuss it on the show the way we do. I appreciate the efforts of both of you on a Monday evening. Thank you to you both. Nina Turner --
TURNER: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: -- Rick Santorum.
All right, I want to get back to Iran. We want to get a general's thoughts on what we've been talking about here. What is the plus? What is the minus? What are the likely outcomes of what we're seeing?
[21:30:04] Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, good to see you, and we'll talk in a moment. General Clark.
CUOMO: A couple of tough questions for us tonight. Is the President starting another faux fight with Iran like the one we saw with North Korea? And how about this story that just came up today about stripping the security clearance that Trump wants to do now for people that he doesn't like, former Intel chiefs. Is that OK? We have a man with answers. You're seeing the people on your screen right now. Let's talk about the consequences. Retired Four-Star General Wesley Clark. General, always a pleasure. Welcome to "Prime Time."
WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Pulling the clearances. The President has the right to do it. He has almost plenary authority when it comes to that kind of thing. But is it right to do? Why or why not?
CLARK: Well, he can deny people access.
CLARK: But there's a process for removing someone's security clearance. There are like a million and a half people that have top secret clearances in and around D.C. There are all kinds of civilians that have to do this kind of work. So to allege these men are somehow using it to make money, what they're doing is they're speaking out, and I think it's a petty thought, and it shows a real misunderstanding of their motivations to say you're going to take away their security clearances or, you know, accuse them of using them to make money.
[21:35:25] CUOMO: Right.
CLARK: A million people have security clearances, and they're hired so they can work on government projects to keep us safe.
CUOMO: Right. Hypocrisy or political basis, let's say it's a little soft, OK. Fair criticism. But he can still do it. Let's take it up a notch. Do you believe that there is any national security issue with pulling it from the likes of a Susan Rice and the former Intel chiefs? Is it true that there are communications between the current and former administration that wouldn't be able to had now?
CLARK: I don't think there's that much communication going on. I certainly don't think they're inviting Jim Clapper into the White House. And Chris, after you've had those clearances and you step back, you can see what's happening just by reading the daily newspaper. You don't have to have the intercept of a phone call or whatever it is that you might be missing. You know what this is about.
These men and women lived with the highest level security clearances. They know the way the world works. They understand the people that are around Vladimir Putin.
CLARK: And how they're motivated, and that's why they're trying to warn America about this. It's not because someone on the inside is talking to them. That's not what this is about, so take the security clearances. Show how -- what a petty -- it won't stop one bit of the speaking out because they're not speaking out based on current classified information. They're speaking out based on their character and 30 and 40 years of service for the United States of America. CUOMO: One of the concerns now anew is about Iran and how the President is using his fire and fury style with Rouhani. Any concerns, or you see it as just hyperbole?
CLARK: It's a lot of hyperbole. I mean we've been in a long challenge with Iran. It's been a sort of covert war for almost 40 years, really since the Shah was overthrown and the regime became so anti-American. And it's been tit for tat and a lot's gone on behind the scenes. There have been a lot of misunderstandings.
I think the Obama administration tried to avoid striking Iran because they knew that you can't really finish the job with military force, and so they got what was an agreement to slow down the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons. It wasn't a perfect agreement, didn't curtail Iranian activities elsewhere or terrorism activities. However, it was better than letting them move forward and getting a nuclear weapon.
Now, President Trump has thrown that out, so tensions are rising. The Iranians are working with the Europeans. They want to see the benefits of the agreement they signed. They've taken the United States to court because they say we illegally refused to abide by the agreement.
So there's a lot here. But one thing I've learned in my military career and study afterwards, Chris, is use force only as a last, last, last resort.
After 9/11, this country was penetrated by fear from top to bottom. We made a lot of mistakes. We invaded Iraq. We got rid of our values. We tortured people in this -- with Americans doing the torture. We did things we had previously condemned other governments for, and we did it.
Now, going after Iran right now, that's stoking up fear. I don't know why we want to stoke up that fear. It's not a smart thing to do. It's not a useful thing to do from a geostrategic sense. Obviously there's political benefit or President Trump sees political benefit in doing so.
CUOMO: Right. Well, General, thank you very much. As another famous general once said, "You'll know what I want to do when I do it." General Wesley Clark, thank you very much for your perspective.
OK. Here's a very different kind of story, but it's very important. It comes to us from Florida. Here's the quick fact scenario, and I'm not leaving out anything even if a quick summary that you need to know to have an opinion on this.
There's an argument going on over a parking space. There's a man arguing with a woman in a car. Her boyfriend is inside. Their children are in the car with her. He hears the ruckus. He comes walking outside. He sees the man going at it with his girlfriend in the car. He walks up to the man. He pushes him, knocks the man onto the ground. The man looks up at the man standing over him, reaches into his pocket, pulls out a weapon, and puts one right in his chest. The man bleeds out in front of his partner and his 5-year-old kid.
[21:40:02] Is that OK with you? It's OK with the state of Florida. Stand your ground is back in the national dialogue. And you may not know this, but it's been updated, and it arguably makes it even easier to kill without consequence. What I just told you, there will be no charges. Is this OK? We've got two great legal minds to take this on. You're looking at them right now. One, the man who represented Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin. What does he have to say? What does Areva have to counter? Next.
CUOMO: Markeis McGlockton took a round to the chest, bled out with his partner and his 5-year-old watching. Why? He knocked a man to the ground who was arguing with his girlfriend about a parking space. When he came out of the store and saw the two going at it, this happened on your screen right now. Did you see it? If not, re-rack it, Ellie, and show it again for them so they get an understanding of what's happening.
There's McGlockton. There's the guy arguing with his girlfriend, right? She gets out of the car. Boom, pushes him. What does the man do? Pulls out the gun, and right there he fires at him. Why did we stop it? Well, because you've already seen enough in terms of you didn't see him lunging towards Michael Drejka, the man on the ground. You don't see that. But I don't want to show for his family and for some of you who are sensitive him getting shot in the chest.
[21:45:18] He went back in the store. He tried to get compression. His 5-year-old sat there and watched him bleed out. The Pinellas County Sheriff, Pinellas Florida is where this happened, that's the county -- says the law is clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF BOB GUALTIERI, PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA: He had to shoot to defend himself, you know, and those are the facts, and that's the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He's not simpleton, by the way. He's also a lawyer. So he's a lawyer and the sheriff. Michael Drejka is the shooter. He's home tonight or wherever he wants to be because of the stand your ground law.
At least 24 states have similar legislation. Florida recently, arguably updated it to make it easier for someone like Drejka to kill without consequence.
The reaction to this understandable. Emotions raw, running high. People want justice. They don't believe you should be able to shoot somebody and walk away like this with such a low standard. We know this isn't the first time, by the way, that Drejka apparently started trouble over this issue. How so? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICH KELLY, STORE CUSTOMER: He said he'll shoot me, called me (bleep), and stuff like that. So I mean I think it's a racial issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Check the reporting. Store owner also knew this man and knew his tendency to have a pet peeve about people who were parking in the disabled spot.
All right. So let's dig into the case. Areva Martin and Mark O'Mara are with us now.
O'Mara, it's good to see you again. Areva, good to see you as always.
MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good to see you.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: So, are you OK with the application of law in this instance, Mark O'Mara?
O'MARA: Very tough call. We have to understand that the foundation of it is that we all have an absolute right to self-defense. That was sort of upgraded, if you will, by the stand your ground law in Florida that said that right that we have, that castle doctrine right to protect ourselves in our home, we can now do that on the street corner. That's what the stand your ground statute does.
What it really says is before you have to retreat or instead of having to retreat, you can meet force with force. That, as you said was upgraded --
O'MARA: If this. If the reasonable fear of imminent great bodily injury exist --
CUOMO: Great bodily injury. So that's the standard.
CUOMO: Mark, I appreciate it. Let's bounce it over to Areva. You saw what happened. There are no other facts in the case. Drejka, 47. McGlockton, in his 20s. Bigger man. No question about it. He shoved him on the ground. There is no secondary assault by McGlockton that's on the video, and this is all of the video that exists. We just stop it where he gets shot because I don't want to show that to my audience. So, serious bodily injury. Areva, what does it mean in this case?
MARTIN: Well, what concerns me most about this tape, Chris, is we see the victim in this case pause. We see him back up. We see the shooter pause before he takes that shot. So I don't think the story begins and ends with this video. And also my biggest problem with this Florida law is the inconsistent nature in which it is applied and the racial imbalance. There's been a study that was done that says 79% of people that kill black people using this defense, they get off versus 59% when a white person is the victim of a shooting.
So we can talk about this law. We can talk about your right to defend yourself, but we can't talk about that in a vacuum without acknowledging the racial issues that come into play. And that sheriff looking at that tape could have reached a completely different conclusion. The case law is all over the place in Florida in terms of how this law is applied. So I don't think the sheriff had to reach this conclusion at all, and we saw in the Trayvon Martin case, which was Mark's case, what it took to get the state's attorney in that case to actually file charges.
CUOMO: All right.
MARTIN: This case has been referred to the state's attorney and maybe charges will be filed as I believe they should be.
CUOMO: All right. So let's take up that part of the case, Mark. A year ago there was an update to the law that shifts the burden. It used to be, as it was in your case with Robert Zimmerman, that you had to plead as an affirmative defense and argue that stand your ground should apply and vitiate, wipe out the homicide, the culpability for the homicide.
Now it's on the prosecution to do it. So the sheriff says the law is clear. Who reviews it? What is the chance for further justice?
O'MARA: Well, and you're right, Chris. Back in 2014, what they did was they said once I, as the criminal defense attorney present a prima facie case of self-defense, if I show that I think I acted in self- defense, now the state has to disprove that self-defense by clear and convincing evidence at the stand your ground hearing.
Don't forget they always have to disprove self-defense at the trial that's beyond a reasonable doubt. So there is no question that Florida, both in 2005 when they created this stand your grand statute, and '14 when they amended it, is making it "easier" --
[21:50:02] CUOMO: Right.
O'MARA: -- to get away with shooting somebody because you argue it's defense. But the point is, still going to be imminent. Chris, if you punch me in the nose and break my nose, I can't shoot you because of that. I can only shoot you if I reasonably think you're going to do it again, and that's the problem with videotaping today, there's no evidence of that.
CUOMO: By the way, I have a problem with that because I don't know that punching somebody in the nose is fear of death or fear of bodily injury, but that didn't even happen with McGlockton. He just shoved him. That's all that happened is what you see there in that type. What do we know about the review that's going on at the state level?
MARTIN: Well, we know that the state --
O'MARA: We know they're going to look at it. CUOMO: So they're looking at it. Areva, what's the chance that we believe that there are going to be some charges here filed? Just charges.
MARTIN: I hope there are going to be charges filed and maybe some defense lawyer like Mark will get to plead the case for this shooter. But to not arrest him and not file charges, I think is an injustice in this case.
Again, when you look at the inconsistent nature of the way the law is applied, you can't take race out of this case.
CUOMO: Listen. We'll going to have to talk about this a lot more. We have to see what the state does and why they do it. And I'm going to call on you both to come back. Can I count on you for this?
CUOMO: Areva, thank you very much. Areva Martin, and you know, Mark O'Mara didn't just represent Zimmerman, he was part of this group that was trying to get language added to this law, that you have to be able to have some type of thought process and have to try to get away from a situation before you kill who you think is your assailant.
All right. So, here on "Cuomo Prime Time," we like to get people the benefit of the doubt. But we've got some video to show you where that is going to be really tough to do. Here's just a taste of what I'm talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SACHA BARON COHEN, COMEDIAN: We say in the Mossad, I mean not in the Mossad, if you want to win, you show some skin.
JASON SPENCER (R), GEORGIA REPRESENTATIVE: OK.
COHEN: OK. Show it to me. Now try to touch me.
SPENCER: I'll touch you. I'll touch you with my buttocks!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:56:10] CUOMO: Georgia Republican State Jason Spencer is guilty of really bad judgment. He got setup by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on who is America? Look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: ISIS are scared of being seen as homo. You know what it mean, homo?
SPENCER: Yeah, yeah. COHEN: If your buttock touch them, it mean they have become a?
COHEN: You show me your weapon. Go.
SPENCER: I'll touch you! I'll make you a homosexual! You drop that gun right now! USA!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: USA. Believe it or not, dropping his pants was not the most appalling moment. He also screams the end word repeatedly because he was told shock now he was appealing to terrorists. And then he did this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER: And we are tired of you trying to threaten us. We will cut off your (bleep). You understand? We will take your (bleep), and we will shove it in your mouth, pull it off, and put it in your mouth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: For his part, Spencer says he was tricked and that Sacha Baron Cohen exploited his fear of terrorists. For the part of everyone else in the world, come on men. You eat the sausage and run around like that and said all that ugly crap? You lose. And yet this is the clip in the show that really bothers me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRENT LOTT (D), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: It's something that we should think about, America, about putting guns in the hands of law- abiding citizens, good guys, whether they be teachers or whether they actually be talented children or how to train preschoolers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe having many young people trained and understanding how to defend themselves in their school might actually make us safer here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A three-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it. Our founding fathers did not put an age limit on the Second Amendment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Preschoolers, you want my eight-year-old. She is gifted. She's going into third grade, so what does she ready for, a mortar, launcher? They actually mentioned it in the video. Now, I know these men say they were tricked or coerced, but they believe these things. And this is who we are. This isn't about access to weapons, this is about why we can't get the laws that overwhelming majorities of you who say you want, controlling access to weapons, because of how some in our culture see violence. This casual deference to deadly force.
A guy can get shot for pushing another man down and there needs to be only cursory review. The law is designed to make it easy. That's what we saw in Florida. Kids should be armed. Trained preschoolers. That's the best we can do? That's OK? No. This is not who we are when we are at our best, and we need to talk more to each other about these issues so we can kind of get out the crazy and come to common ground about whom we want to be. Otherwise we will be laughed off as a joke and not just by Cohen.
Thank you for watching. "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon starts right now. I'm telling you what, Don, I watched it time and time again, not the fool with the sausage but watching Trent Lott, OK. Rohrbacher who is in there now, other guys who are in there now, saying, you know preschoolers, you know, second amendment doesn't have an age on it. And you know, our age limit -- you know, you trained. They're the gifted, the gifted kids, you know?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, it's OK. So, a couple things. Yes, it is how ignorant and gullible and tribal and, shall I say, stupid we are. I disagree with you. I mean, listen, if we at our best? Sure, we can be better than that. But that is who we are. I mean, a lot of people --
CUOMO: Oh, I thought you were saying you were disagreeing about the preschoolers --
LEMON: No. No, no, no.
CUOMO: I was going to come into your studio and give you a little slap sense.
LEMON: Oh, come on, Chris. You know me better than that.
CUOMO: I know.
LEMON: I actually not. But I think that this is who we are. I mean, look at the situation we're in now. Look what the people overlooked and still overlooked in order to make excuses for the terrible behavior of this president.